General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) is protected by attorney-client privilege regarding the company’s notes on a report on the ignition switch recall, in a ruling on the matter issued by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman. The report in question, called “Valukas report”, is a public document, but the notes on 350 interviews conducted by lawyer Anton Valukas of law firm Jenner & Block with 250 witnesses, the company argued, is internal.
The report included results from the interviews, but allowing the plaintiffs’ lawyers to access the notes on the said interviews would reveal the identities of the interviewees, which have been protected in the public report. The lawyers argued that since the report was public, the notes on the interviews conducted for it should be public as well. Furman, however, overruled the argument in favor of General Motors Company (NYSE:GM), and denied the plaintiffs’ motion to compel GM in turning over the notes and noting in the ruling that the materials in question is a work product that is protected.
According to Furman, General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) claim for keeping the notes internal is valid, and wrote on the ruling that “the cost of withholding the materials is outweighed by the benefits to society of encouraging full and frank communication” between lawyers and clients. Steve Berman, a lawyer representing the plaintiffs, expressed disappointment with the ruling and said that the plaintiffs believe the report to be inaccurate.
General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) has received 141 additional compensation claims earlier this week, accounting for a total of 2,710 claims so far. As of date, the carmaker’s compensation fund has identified 112 cases as eligible. Eligible claims include 45 cases of death positively linked to the faulty ignition switches, along with 6 cases of serious injuries and 60 cases of other injuries.
This article has been written by Nonito Guntan.